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About enhanced CPC (ECPC)

Enhanced cost per click (ECPC) is a bid strategy that automatically adjusts your manual bids for clicks that seem more likely to lead to a sale or conversion on your website. Unlike Target CPA, which targets the cost per conversion, ECPC uses your max. CPC bid to target conversions. Compared with Target CPA, ECPC is constrained by your manual bids, but can still help you optimise for conversion. In this article, we’ll explain how ECPC works and how it can help you get more value for your ad budget.

Before you start

To use Enhanced CPC, you’ll need to have conversion tracking enabled. Find out how to Set up conversion tracking.

If you’d like to learn about ECPC for Shopping, read how to Set up ECPC for Shopping campaigns.

How it works

ECPC looks for ad auctions that are more likely to lead to sales, and then raises your max. CPC bid up to 30% (after applying any bid adjustments you've set) to compete harder for those clicks. If a click seems less likely to convert, then AdWords will lower your bid by as much as 100%.

Example

Suppose that you sell shoes on your website, you've set your max. CPC for £1, and you have ECPC bidding turned on. If the AdWords system sees an auction that looks likely to lead someone to buy shoes on your site, it might set your bid as high as £1.30 for that auction (that is, your £1 max. CPC bid plus 30 per cent more).

ECPC double-checks itself by leaving part of your traffic alone to work with your regular max. CPC bids. Then it compares the two sets of results and adjusts accordingly. So when you choose ECPC, you should see conversion results that are better than or at least the same as the results that you get without it.

ECPC is a form of AdWords Smart Bidding that uses a wide range of auction-time signals such as device, browser, location and time of day to tailor bids to someone’s unique context, but not to the full extent of other Smart Bidding strategies, such as Target CPA and Target ROAS.

ECPC for text ads is available on the Search Network and the Display Network, except in campaigns that promote mobile app downloads. For Shopping ads, ECPC works only on Google Search.

ECPC is available as an optional feature with Manual CPC bidding or as a portfolio bid strategy.

Tip: Save time managing your bids with a portfolio ECPC bid strategy

You’ll be able to apply ECPC bid optimisation more strategically to entire campaigns or specific ad groups of your choice. Learn about portfolio bid strategies

How conversion tracking works with ECPC

The AdWords system looks for patterns of clicks and conversions and compares them to your past results. If certain search or keyword combinations lead to more sales, for instance, then it will know. That's why you need conversion tracking turned on to use ECPC – it’s where the data comes from.

ECPC will increase your max. CPC bid by up to 30% (after applying any bid adjustments that you've set) when it sees a good opportunity. It'll also lower your max. CPC by any amount (even more than 30 per cent) if it determines that a conversion isn't likely, so you'll pay less for clicks that convert less.

Make sure that you review your conversion counting method for each conversion action to ensure it matches your goals. If you're tracking leads (such as sign-ups), you probably only want to count one conversion per ad click. If you're tracking sales, you probably want to count every conversion.

Tip

Because ECPC will increase your max. CPC bid by up to 30 per cent when it sees a good opportunity, don't be surprised if your AdWords report shows average CPCs that are over your max. CPC.

How ECPC is different from Target CPA bidding

Both ECPC and Target CPA bidding work to get you more conversions. The key difference is that ECPC will raise your max. CPC bid by up to 30% (after applying any bid adjustments that you've set). Target CPA is not constrained by your max. CPC, though it does require you to set a target CPA.

Target CPA bidding gives you the very best chance to improve your results with the full power of AdWords Smart Bidding. However, ECPC provides a level of manual control that some people prefer.

Both ECPC and Target CPA bidding

  • Use conversion tracking or Google Analytics data from your account
  • Predict a conversion rate for each auction
  • Adjust your bids to help you win the most promising clicks

ECPC

  • Works with all your campaign settings and Max. CPC bids
  • Can raise bids by up to 30%
  • Works with third-party bidding systems, even if they're automating your bids

Target CPA bidding

  • Is based on a target CPA that you set
  • Has full freedom to set your CPC bid for each auction to increase the chance of a conversion
  • Can be used with third-party bidding systems, but the same campaign cannot use Target CPA and another bidding solution simultaneously

How device bid adjustments work with ECPC

ECPC adjusts bids based on the likelihood of a conversion compared to other people on the same type of device. You can set a device bid adjustment to adjust your bids up or down based on the device your ad appears on.

We recommend setting a mobile bid adjustment that takes into account the differences in conversion rates between mobile and other devices, especially to incorporate any additional conversions that aren’t tracked using the AdWords Conversion Tracking tag (such as in-shop visits). Find out more About bid adjustments.

Note that ECPC, like Target CPA and Target ROAS, will continue to set different bids for desktop traffic vs. tablet traffic based on differences in conversion rates.

How to enable ECPC

Your campaign must have conversion tracking enabled in order to use ECPC. Also, bear in mind that ECPC works slightly differently for Shopping campaigns. Learn more about how to Set up ECPC for Shopping campaigns.

Instructions

Select the AdWords experience that you're using. Learn more.

 

Tip: Choose what conversions to bid for

The following conversion tracking settings let you customise how you bid for conversions:

  • The Include in "Conversions" setting lets you decide whether or not to include individual conversion actions in your "Conversions" reporting column. The data in this column is used by bid strategies like target CPA, target ROAS and ECPC, so your bid strategy will only optimise based on the conversions that you've chosen to include. Find out more
  • The Include cross-device conversions setting lets you include cross-device conversions in your “Conversions” column and in your conversion-based bid strategies. Find out more
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